2012 Carlisle Sonoma County Zinfandel

SKU #1160453 91-93 points Vinous

 Carlisle's 2012 Zinfandel is a stunning wine and a great value, to boot. Exuberant, juicy and ripe to the core, the 2012 is bursting with personality, intensity and pure pleasure. Close your eyes. Anywhere else in the world, this wine would sell for twice as much. Mike Officer and Jay Maddox have done a fabulous job here. Look at some of the vineyards in this blend; Zinfandel and Petite Sirah from Rossi Ranch, Zinfandel from Banfield Ranch, plus barrels of Zinfandel from Montafi and Sodini (which could have been bottled separately), all from sites planted between 1881 and 1910. Incredible.  (2/2014)

90-92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 A dense ruby color is followed by copious aromas of brambleberries, black cherries, spice box and pepper. This pure, full-bodied (14.8% alcohol) Zinfandel hits the palate with loads of hedonistic joy. Consume this beautiful Zinfandel during its first 3-4 years of life. Carlisle Winery’s Mike Officer and his wife are one of the wonderful stories in the wine world. Going from a part-time home winemaker, to turning out some of his beloved Zinfandels, to becoming one of the two or three leading guardians of old vine Zinfandel in Northern California, Mike Officer was so good at making wine that he changed careers and wine consumers are the beneficiaries....Everyone who loves Zinfandel should be on Carlisle’s mailing list, the wines are primarily available only from the winery.  (12/2013)

91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 (made from fruit grown in seven different vineyards; includes some petite sirah, syrah, alicante, grand noir, petite bouschet and other mixed blacks): Vivid ruby. Emphatically fruity nose displays scents of ripe boysenberry, plum and cherry, with a touch of dried rose adding complexity. On the palate, silky dark berry and floral pastille flavors put on weight with air. Finishes on a mocha note, with gripping tannins adding structure. As usual, this bottling delivers outstanding value.  (6/2014)

91 points Wine Spectator

 Dark and jammy, with black raspberry and fruit cake aromas and luscious flavors of blackberry, licorice and smoky cracked pepper. Drink now through 2020. 986 cases made.  (6/2014)

K&L Notes

The vineyard sources for this wine were reportedly planted from the 1880s to the 1920s.

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Price: $39.99
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- The bid to name Zinfandel California's "State Varietal" may have failed, but this red wine grape, grown extensively in California since the mid-1800s, is grown in few other places in the world. Sadly, much of what's cultivated today is planted where it's too hot and flat. But when planted to well-drained, hillside vineyards that are warm but not too hot, like those in Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley and Amador County in the Sierra Foothills, Zinfandel can produce wines with plenty of character. High in natural alcohol and tannin, grown carefully it can be rich and complex, with dark fruit berry fruit and peppery spice. The most known example of Zinfandel outside of California is Italy's Primitivo, which can be similar in style, but is often a bit lighter and less alcoholic than West Coast examples.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Sonoma County

- Second in fame only to Napa, this "other" valley offers just about every climate and topography imaginable. From its cool and fog-enshrouded coastal regions on the far west, to the sprawling Alexander Valley on the boarder of Napa and the many little dips and peaks in between, Sonoma has been a vital wine-grape-growing region since the mid 1800s. Important sub-AVAs include Chalk Hill (known for chardonnay and sauvignon blanc), Dry Creek Valley (where zin is king) Knights Valley (largely cabernet land), Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast (both celebrated pinot and chardonnay zones).
Alcohol Content (%): 14.9